When you take a glimpse at the slate of games on Saturday, New Mexico and Texas A&M don’t exactly jump off the page. Considering there are several games with playoff implications on the line, it’s easy to ignore these two programs. For an entirely different reason, the rest of the year is fairly important for the Aggies. Notably, the coaching staff is in the crosshairs, with Kevin Sumlin on the ropes. It may very well be a foregone conclusion, though. From the moment UCLA completed the biggest comeback in college football history, back in early September, boosters and fans alike were calling for his head. Sumlin needed a big year in 2017, and he failed in a massive way right out of the gate. His fate may have been decided a few minutes following that game.
Nonetheless, Texas A&M were showing some signs of life, with four wins in a row after the UCLA debacle. They also hung in there against Alabama, a 27-19 loss, and a win over Florida, 19-17. The wheels have been falling off the wagon the last two weeks, though. They fell 35-14 to Mississippi State, and a 42-27 loss to Auburn. They’ve had a brutal schedule lately. That’s what happens playing in the SEC, so it’s expected, but it’s been a tough go of it recently for the Aggies. Alabama, Florida, Mississippi State, and Auburn were their most recent opponents. They emerged with a win against the Gators, and had nothing else to show for their efforts.
Texas A&M are at a point where they should be competing for championships. Sumlin has been given ample time to build a roster. Johnny Manziel fell into his lap, potentially extending his stay at the school. Manziel put the Aggies on the map, but they’ve been regressing since he departed for the NFL. They’ve been subtracting if anything. Most notably, QB Kenny Hill left for TCU, setting Texas A&M back at the quarterback position.
Kyler Murray also transferred to get off the sinking ship, too. The Aggies have been trying to locate a new quarterback, but it’s been tough sledding Kellen Mond was benched against Auburn, giving Nick Starkel the reins. Starkel looked much more comfortable, passing for 2 touchdowns. The sophomore has 3 touchdowns and an interception in the last two weeks, his only real game action of the season. Starkel appears ready to get the starting nod on Saturday, but look for Mond to get involved in the action. Mond is the more mobile option for A&M. Head below for our free New Mexico vs. Texas A&M pick.
New Mexico Lobos vs. Texas A&M Aggies Betting Odds:
New Mexico +18(-110)
vs. Texas A&M -18(-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
New Mexico vs. Texas A&M Pick:
Sumlin will likely go with the hot-hand. If Starkel is struggling, you’ll see Sumlin go to Mond. Against a Mountain West opponent, we expect a school like Texas A&M to have no struggles, regardless of who is on the field at quarterback. They are going to get a much needed break after having to deal with SEC defenses the last six weeks.
This game should be seen as a confidence builder for Mond and Starkel. If there is a main goal for Texas A&M, it’s get their quarterbacks going and feel better. The Aggies aren’t anywhere close to where they want to be on offense. They are averaging just 382 yards per game for 82nd in the nation. That’s ugly for any team, but especially a program like Texas A&M.
Like I said, though, the Aggies have had a heck of a schedule lately. They are not getting the same test against New Mexico in this matchup. The Lobos are 63rd against the pass, so they’re moving away from some of the top defenses against the pass, and get a New Mexico team who have been struggling in that respect. The Lobos have lost four in a row, including blowout losses on the road.
New Mexico went to Fresno State and got blown out by a score of 38-0. Two weeks later they travelled to Wyoming, an offense that has looked like crud this year, and get taken to the shed again, 42-3. The Lobos will alternate quarterbacks between Lamar Jordan and Teveka Tuioti.
Jordan hasn’t been the same since his injury against Boise State back in September. The fifth-year senior hasn’t looked nearly as athletic as he has in the past. He rushed for 739 yards last season and 807 in 2015. He only has 225 yards and no rushing touchdowns. He’s also thrown for 3 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. I don’t think he is playing at 100 percent. Tuioti is getting the first action of his career and his numbers are just about the same as Jordan. The Aggies need somebody to beat up on, and New Mexico may do the trick. If they don’t dismantle New Mexico, the notion of players giving up on Sumlin is probable. A&M should navigate past New Mexico with ease, though. I’d lay the number at 18 with something that should be at 22 or 23.
PICK: TEXAS A&M -18 (-110)